In the wake of the fire at Notre Dame cathedral, some online commentators speculated that arsonists might have sparked the blaze, hinting at Islamists or radical secularists. Others immediately launched a furious counterattack, accusing these writers of religious bigotry and racism by their rush to judgment.
To a point, I would agree with these critics. French officials at the time I am writing these words tend to believe that construction equipment inside the cathedral may have ignited the fire. At the time the fire was first observed, construction workers had already left the site, but it is possible that generators, electrical lines, or some other malfunction brought on this catastrophe.
Before we castigate those who suspect arson, however, let’s become investigators ourselves and ask some questions: Why would anyone make such a claim? Why would someone think a radical Islamist might attempt to destroy one of the world’s most historic and beloved monuments?
Well, there are several legitimate reasons.
In 2018 vandals attacked 875 Catholic churches in France, according to the UK Sun. These criminal acts ranged from smearing human feces on the walls, to arson, to monument desecration. A Pakistani migrant now awaits trial on charges of vandalizing the Saint Denis Basilica this past winter. In March 2019, an as yet unidentified arsonist set fire to Saint-Sulpice, the second largest church in Paris.
Nor are these attacks on churches limited to France. They occur across the continent of Europe. Just one example of many:
In 2016, following the arrival in Germany of another million mostly Muslim migrants, a local newspaper reported that in the town of Dülmen, ‘not a day goes by' without attacks on religious statues in the town of less than 50,000 people, and the immediate surrounding area.’
As Raymond Ibrahim reports in the article above, the government and the press either make little of this vandalism or, if forced by circumstances of an arrest or conviction, frequently declare the perpetrators to be mentally unhinged. Ibrahim cites a recent article in Germany’s PI-News:
Hardly anyone writes and speaks about the increasing attacks on Christian symbols. There is an eloquent silence in both France and Germany about the scandal of the desecrations and the origin of the perpetrators.... Not a word, not even the slightest hint that could in anyway lead to the suspicion of migrants... It is not the perpetrators who are in danger of being ostracized, but those who dare to associate the desecration of Christian symbols with immigrant imports. They are accused of hatred, hate speech and racism.
These desecrations are but the outward signs of a European culture that has lost faith in itself and in its God. European leaders have opened the gateways to massive immigration at a time when European Christianity is at its nadir, when the pride of many Europeans in their own institutions and history has given way to multiculturalism and self-contempt, when European birth rates are at historic lows.
I have never embraced the idea that “the sins of the father shall be visited on their children,” but in the case of Europe, and perhaps one day in America, that adage fits. If European leaders have made a mistake in opening their borders while denigrating their own culture, their children will be the ones paying the price.
In The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, Douglas Murray begins his book with four words: “Europe is committing suicide.”
So it would seem.
[Image Credit: Pixabay]
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.